Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Comparative Anatomy, Mirroring - Horses & Humans

This morning I have been working on my sequencing, physical anatomy, and subtle anatomies for the upcoming Focus Yoga on Neck and Shoulder series at Lyric Yoga. While this series has been in the works for a few months, I've been receiving epiphany after epiphany on this area from our horse teachers.

The picture shows my friends Kristene and Bianca at a session where we worked a bit on shoulders some time ago. If you look closely, you can see how Bianca and I have a similar stance supporting Kristene in accessing her thoracic and cervical spine.

Then, a few weeks ago, I went out to ride Gary, but he was more interested in longeing, which is pretty unusual for him. I could see right away he was 'hanging' from his withers, tight in the shoulder blades and ribcage area, and heavy in the chest.

That same week, at one of our horse-assisted yoga mini-retreats, Gary worked directly with one of our highly intuitive participants, and he encouraged her to walk with him. She (the human) went right into a yoga opening that I usually include in my classes that I call 'sleeping puppet', where we extend and flex the upper spine area - our very own withers. Physically, we are flexing and extending in this area that tends to get pretty stiff and rounded for many of us. Energetically, at the pranic level, we are engaging the prana and udana vayus or you can also think of it as the engaging the heart and throat chakra energy.

It's my experience that when we play with our own bodies in the vicinity of horses (or dogs or cats or ...) the animals pick up on what we are doing and feel it in their own systems. What's good for us is good for them, and what's good for them is good for us, with a few comparative anatomy type of adjustments. It isn't just my experience either, this is an active area for scientific investigation, called mirroring.

So, the humans in our upcoming classes and workshops will benefit from the teachings of Gary the horse, who continues to provide insights into the workings of mind, body, and spirit.

Namaste Gary!

Oh, and the Focus Yoga on Neck and Shoulders class is at Lyric Yoga Tuesdays from 4-5 pm, and the workshop (that I'm doing with Rose Kress) is scheduled for April 24, 2010.

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